SESYNC Model Integration Workshop

Advanced geospatial and mathematical models have become increasing common and influential in addressing various aspects of sustainability; such models often include transportation, land use, climate, water quality, air quality, and other models. There have been attempts to integrate or couple such models to facilitate a more comprehensive approach to sustainability, but such model integration across domains remains a relatively young and unexplored line of inquiry.

To probe further into the challenge of model coupling, the NCSG organized a workshop on advanced model integration at SESYNC in Annapolis, MD on January 22nd and 23rd. 15 renowned researchers from Europe and North America were invited to present their achievements on model integration and to discuss lessons learned and innovative solutions.

The workshop was funded by the National Science Foundation through the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC). With funding from SESYNC and the Towncreek Foundation, the NCSG has built a modeling suite that includes land use, land cover, transportation, economic, climate change and environmental impact models. Much of this work was accomplished under the PRESTO project. The models focus on the Chesapeake Bay region near Washington D.C., the largest brackish water estuary in the U.S. While these models are each operational, their integration is still a work in progress.

The presentations given at this workshop can be accessed here.

Alberti,    Marina             Presentation 33 MB                       University of Washington
BenDor,   Todd   Presentation  1 MB   University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Bulatewicz,   Tom   Presentation  1 MB   Kansas State University
Chakraborty,   Arnab   Presentation  2 MB   University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Deal,   Brian   Presentation  8 MB   University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Donnelly,   Rick   Presentation  2 MB   Parson Brinckerhoff/Los Alamos National Laboratory
Ford,   Alistair   Presentation  6 MB   Newcastle University
Gregor,   Brian   Presentation  1 MB   Oregon Systems Analytics
Peckham,   Scott   Presentation  5 MB   University of Colorado
Shandas,   Vivek   Presentation 12 MB   Portland State University
Wegener,   Michael   Presentation  4 MB   Spiekermann & Wegener, Urban and Regional Research
Weidner,   Tara   Presentation  2 MB   Oregon Department of Transportation
Werling,   Jeff   Presentation  1 MB   University of Maryland
Zhou,   Xuesong   Presentation  2 MB   Arizona State University










To the end of this workshop, a panel discussion was organized to address some key concepts of model integration. Panel members were Brian Deal, Alistair Ford, Vivek Shandas and Michael Wegener. A video recording of the panel addressing each of these questions can be downloaded below.


Question 1
How flexible should the zone system be? Do our models need to be able to work with variable zone systems from 300 zones to 3,000 zones?



Question 2
How tightly should models be integrated? Do all modules need to be integrated at the same level of sophistication? Is it sufficient to loosely couple some of the modules?


Question 3
Our travel demand model is more complex than models presented by Michael or Alistair, but less complex than models presented by Tara or Rick. Do we have an appropriate level of complexity?





Where to go from here

For further information on the SESYNC project, please contact Rolf Moeckel ( or Harut Shahumyan (